Tayler Warehime and the No. 1 North Carolina women’s lacrosse team were on a mission to redeem themselves this spring.
The Tar Heels were undefeated through seven games before the remainder of the season was cancelled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Warehime, a 2018 Manchester Valley High School grad, had 10 goals and two assists through seven games as a sophomore attacker. She scored in 15 of 21 games as a freshman in 2019 and finished fourth on the team with 38 points.
Before UNC, Warehime led the Carroll County Athletic League with 76 goals en route to earning Times Girls Lacrosse Player of the Year honors. She finished her career, which was split between Man Valley and North Carroll, with 226 goals, good for eighth best in Carroll County public school history.
The Times caught up with Warehime to talk about her experiences as a Division I athlete.
Q: What was the most memorable moment of your rookie season at UNC?
A: The most memorable moment of my freshman season at UNC was winning the ACC tournament championship. [Boston College] was undefeated and ranked No. 1 at the time of the tournament and beat us at home earlier in the season so we knew it was going to be a big game for us. It was by far one of the best games I have ever been a part of in my lacrosse career.
The intensity level of the game couldn’t have been any higher and it was a back-and-forth battle until the last second. Winning this game was definitely a huge defining moment of our season but we knew we still had more hard work to put in before the NCAA tournament started up.
Q: What was the most difficult transition from high school lacrosse to Division I lacrosse?
A: The most difficult transition from high school lacrosse to Division I lacrosse was definitely the speed of the game. Coming into UNC as a freshman, I knew how talented each and every player was and I was super excited to be able compete against great players every day at practice and in games. More importantly, getting to play with some of the greatest players in the nation is something I am extremely grateful for because I have learned so much from the experienced players on my team and they challenge me to get better each and every day.
Q: What was it like to take down Maryland, the reigning national champion, earlier in the season?
A: Going into the game, we knew they graduated a ton of talent, but we were expecting a typical UNC vs. Maryland rival game as the past two years we have gone into OT with Maryland. Coming into the game we felt very prepared and both ends of the field, offense and defense, did what they needed to do in order for us to be successful and finish the game with a strong win.
We have a lot of respect for Coach [Cathy] Reese and the Maryland program so it was a huge win early in the season and definitely solidified our No. 1 national ranking.
Q: Can you describe what it felt like to have a promising season cut short because of the coronavirus pandemic?
A: Last year in the Final Four, we lost in double overtime to Boston College so our team was really excited this year to make amends for that because we knew we were returning a lot of starting players and we definitely knew coming into this season we had a lot of unfinished business that we needed to take care of. In the preseason, our team was ranked No. 1 and we started off the season 7-0.
I can remember the exact moment when we were told our season was cancelled. We went to practice on Thursday morning and I remember everyone was talking about how a lot of other conferences were canceling their season like the Patriot League and Ivy League. As soon as we took the field for practice, our whole team was very on edge because we had been told nothing by our coaches.
Our coaches actually knew just as much as we did and the ACC had not said anything about what was going to happen with the rest of the season. That same day we practiced, around 5 p.m., Coach [Jenny] Levy called us into a meeting and we were told that the ACC had indefinitely suspended our season and the NCAA tournament had been cancelled. I can remember the room going dead silent and everyone started crying and was extremely upset. We worked so hard to get to this point in our season as a team and we knew we had a really good chance at competing for a national championship this year.
The first thing that came to my mind when we were told the news was the seniors. It was so devastating to look over and see them in pain from hearing this news. You think about how much time and dedication each senior has given to the UNC lacrosse program for these past four years and it truly broke my heart to see them have their senior year taken from them so abruptly.
But, we are extremely grateful that the NCAA has recently announced that they will be giving back the year of eligibility so that’s great news for our team!
Q: In what ways are you keeping yourself busy during quarantine at home in Carroll County?
A: I have been attending classes online and it’s definitely been a different routine for me as I am used to being a student-athlete who is trying to balance my time between lacrosse and academics. I have been getting outside as much as possible to play lacrosse and I have also been re-watching a lot of games from last lacrosse season. I have learned a lot just from watching the women’s professional games from last summer! I have been able to spend a lot of time with my family and dog. I miss my teammates and being able to play lacrosse with them but I have realized how truly grateful I am to be a part of the UNC women’s lacrosse program and how special this team is.